My older sister introduced me to bands that I assumed no other 10 or 11 year old my age was listening to. Going into class and asking if they stayed up and watched Metallica play on the MTV Awards show was an interesting question, especially when they didn’t fully understand what MTV was to begin with. But there was a reason I was crying on my bed to bands like System of a Down, Metallica, No Doubt and that song that went “Sonny Came Home”, (was it called “Sonny Came Home”? it would make sense..) at such a young age. After school I would sit on my oldest sisters bed while she either did her homework or her makeup and listen to her most recent mix tapes, the radio, or the newest CD she had just gotten. But out of all of this music, the one artist that picks me up and throws me right back to the house we grew up in in New York is Alanis Morissette.
Of all 1990’s music, one artist not only turned the tables in terms of genre and sound, but also ignited an absolute fire under the realm of the 90’s grunge artist. A woman singing with the utmost passion, with an attitude and no qualms of calling out the bullshit that needed to be called out. An emotional outpouring of honest lyrics layered in raw, somehow not unpleasant whining vocals. A person who I think helped in single handedly making emotions cool, no matter how covered in sardonic icing each song of hers was.
Although it can be argued that every single song written by Alanis could go down in a list of best songs of the 90’s and early 2000’s, Jagged Little Pill is one of, if not the, most nostalgic, sing along til your blood vessels pop, remind you of everything having to do with the 90’s album. It’s one of the albums that I realized girls could be snarky, sardonic, “ironic”, and powerful. It was also the album that taught me what the word “ironic” meant, and I’m pretty sure I used it in every wrong way possible. It was my favorite album to sing, no matter where I was, because I could always sneak in a bad word and it doesn’t count because it’s in a song so I would just act like I didn’t know what I was saying, just incase my mom heard me and yelled at me. Remember the first song? “All I Really Want”’s opening was like a 90’s grunge battle cry. As soon as you heard the first couple chords of that song you knew what was going to come. I didn’t really at the time because I was 11, but I sure as hell learned to.
A couple years ago I had a massive Alanis M revisit. I was in a store in Manhattan for my friends bachelorette party or something, and I heard a song playing that put that good knot in my stomach. You know those knots that kind of make you anxious but also put this weird nostalgic feeling in the stomach. Anyway, I made the sales associate go in the back and see what the song was called because these were dark times before Shazam. It happened to be “Citizen of the Planet” by Alanis, and as soon as I got home, I downloaded the song and dove deep, deep into the dark realm of Alanis Morissette’s music. BOY. It was then that I felt forever grateful for my sisters deep appreciation of music and allowing me to partake in it at such a young age. I was at an age where I had just gone through a massive breakup with my boyfriend and all of a sudden felt so much better, stronger, and more independent than I had in any other way of trying to make myself feel better. “Uninvited” did things to my soul that I thought could only be done through going to church. A poetic, strong sense of self found in a song that evoked the beginning spark of my strong feminist outlook.
We all know Alanis, but have you ever really allowed yourself to get completely lost in her music? If you haven’t, it’s unfortunate slight. Maybe take a moment to listen and deliberate.
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